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East African leather stakeholders prepare to engage with SMEs

Published on July 26, 2017

From July 19 – 21, the Hub’s grantee COMESA LLPI held a stakeholder workshop to discuss implementation of a design training for SMEs in the leather sector. COMESA LLPI invited representatives from focal institutions in Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi. The Hub, through its work in the leather sector, has identified lack of design skills as a key impediment to SMEs accessing global markets. The Hub-supported design training will remove this impediment by helping East African SMEs produce better-designed products that adhere to international consumer trends.

Stakeholders left the workshop with a cleared understanding of the initiative’s goals and objectives and with an understanding of how they could contribute to the development and validation of the selection criteria for participating SMEs. Workshop participants also learned how to identify and classify defects in leather and leather products to guide them in reviewing the samples from SMEs during the screening process.

COMESA LLPI is honored to collaborate with the Hub on this one year initiative to impart the much needed design and export readiness skills to SMEs in the region. We believe that the work we do together will be impactful resulting in a more competitive and productive leather sector in the region and replicated to other neighboring countries which are not covered by this joint initiative. We also hope to build on the outcomes of this initiative as we develop our Regional Design Studio project,” said Executive Director, COMESA LLPI Prof. Mwinyihija Mwinyikione

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The Hub is extremely proud to launch this program, which will provide the much needed design support for the region's Leather SMEs. COMESA LLPI is an excellent partner for this program and we look forward to working together to increase the design capabilities and export readiness of SMEs in the region,” said Hub’s Investment Director Kanini Mutooni.

Footwear and Leather Goods Manufacturers and Exporters Association is excited to be a focal partner for this design capacity building initiative for SMEs in leather and leather goods sector. Lack of design skills have limited our success is accessing the export markets regionally and internationally. With this training project, the SMEs who will qualify for the program will gain a good understanding of the export markets and be trained on how to design products suitable for the export market,” said Footwear and Leather Goods Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Chairman Victoria Byoma

We applaud the Hub and COMESA LLPI for mooting this initiative. It will contribute in a great way to the work we are doing on the larger Regional Design Studio project. We also appreciate stakeholder involvement right from the start, this gets their buy-in and input throughout the project ensuring its success and sustainability,” Commonwealth COMESA/LLPI Regional Design Studio Project Chairperson, Beatrice Mwasi. 

COMESA-Leather and Leather Products Institute (COMESA LLPI) is an inter-governmental and chartered organization working to increase value addition and enhance exportability and competitiveness of the COMESA region’s leather industry. Through a Hub grant, COMESA LLPI is implementing “Structured design training for regional leather and leather products SMEs in leather products design, craftsmanship and export readiness.” Selected SMEs will learn international leather and leather products design, product development, fashion forecasting, craftsmanship, and design for export, with a particular focus on the AGOA market.